Elks now unbeaten in five after home victory

Ilkeston RUFC's man-of-the-match Dan Taylor (centre) finds himself cornered by several Peterborough players during Saturday's 21-17 success.
Ilkeston RUFC's man-of-the-match Dan Taylor (centre) finds himself cornered by several Peterborough players during Saturday's 21-17 success.

ILKESTON continued their fine run of form by claiming the scalp of Peterborough at The Stute on Saturday.

Midlands One (East)

Ilkeston 21

Peterborough 17

ILKESTON continued their fine run of form by claiming the scalp of Peterborough at The Stute on Saturday.

But a potentially free-flowing game of rugby was never allowed to materialise as the whistle dominated every aspect of the contest.

The stop-start nature did not suit the Elks’ style of playing through phases and apart from the occasional flourish of inspiration, the crowd endured a stream of penalties, scrums and line-outs, interspersed with yellow cards aplenty.

Despite the frustration the Elks did manage to record a victory and stretch their unbeaten sequence to five games.

The home side started well and were first on the board after five minutes.

Stephen Fowkes secured a line-out and JJ Connolly dummied through a gap. He drew the full-back, Jacobs, and fed Dan Taylor who dived over. Joel Haigh converted to establish a 7-0 lead.

From the re-start Haigh tapped a penalty and darted through a retreating defence. He linked with Greg Taylor who was stopped just short but earned a a penalty at the breakdown, but Haigh pulled his shot wide.

In the build-up, Gordon Pringle was knocked out cold in an off-the-ball incident and the game was halted for 30 minutes while he recovered consciousness, received treatment and was stretchered off to hospital, later receiving the all-clear.

When the game resumed the Elks carried on where they they left off.

Russ Garland fielded a 22 two drop out and fed Marc Moore. He moved the ball to Ben Gatehouse who put a grubber in behind the advancing defence. Sansby fumbled the bobbling ball and Dan Taylor was on hand to scoop up and score.

Connolly’s touchline conversion moved the lead to 14-0 with 15 minutes gone.

With Haigh and Connolly using the slope to good effect the Elks were able to keep play inside the visitors’ half.

The lead should have been increased when Connolly’s deft selection of pass put Dan Taylor through a gap and set up a ruck under the posts. Ben Wells and Josh Meakin, who had replaced Pringle, secured the ball but the normally reliable Moore knocked on with the line begging.

Quick off the top line out ball from Garland then saw Connolly and Dan Taylor combine again for Taylor to claim his hat-trick.

Connolly’s ability to find space in the tightest of areas and Taylor’s to find lines of support running created the try.

As the visitors fought their way back into the game the Elks were forced to call upon all their defensive reserves.

Steve Quinn, Simon Bennett and Tom McKelvey worked tirelessly at the break down and Moore, Wells, Dan Mahoney and Lewis Taylor all made crucial tackles to ensure the line was kept intact.

The Elks’ spirit of adventure was evident when Fowkes, Gatehouse and Greg Taylor combined to move the ball from behind their own try line only for Quinn to be penalised for holding on at the ruck.

Carrington’s shot fell short and the half finished with the Elks 21 points up.

The whistle dominated the second-half with players on both sides unable to adjust to the interpretation at the breakdown.

Attempts by the Elks to move the ball were constantly penalised with the tackled player being judged guilty of holding on.

The first penalty of the half came from the kick-off and Carrington put Peterborough on the board at 21-3.

Ten minutes in Garland departed to be replaced by Liam Smithurst who was quickly into the action with a line-out take after Connolly had put a penalty into the corner.

The ball was mauled forward but as the line approached the maul collapsed and much to the consternation of the home supporters a penalty was awarded to the visitors which enabled them to clear their lines.

As penalty followed penalty all rhythm deserted the game.

Breaks by Gatehouse and Greg Taylor came to nothing and Peterborough were allowed back into the game when first Mahoney and then Quinn received yellow cards which required the Elks to play the last 20 minutes with 14 men.

They brought fresh legs to the battle when Elliott Gwynne came on to shore up a tiring back line.

Making good use of the extra man, Peterborough exerted pressure and with five minutes left tapped a penalty close to the line and created space for Loades to barge over. Carrington converted to make it 21-10 with time running out.

As the game entered injury-time, further pressure from the visitors and another quickly-taken penalty enabled Sansby to score in the corner.

Again Carrington converted to it 21-17 but time had run out and the Elks recorded another victory.

Man-of-the-match: Dan Taylor.